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These obelisks originally stood to the south of pylon 7. The western obelisk was removed by a Roman emperor (possibly Constantius) in the 4th century CE and eventually sent to Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire in the east, present day Istanbul, Turkey. It now adorns the Hippodrome. The tip of the second obelisk was recovered at Karnak.

Measurements: The obelisk in Istanbul measures 20m, but only its upper portion survives. It would have originally stood almost 29m, not including a base of more than 1m.

Phase: Thutmose III

Thutmose III erected these obelisks in front of his new pylon entrance along the temple's north/south processional route (the seventh pylon). Interestingly, while only the upper portion of this obelisk survives, its inscription is very similar to an obelisk depicted in a relief scene of Thutmose III. Its full size and text has been hypothesized based on this image. The inscriptions report that the king raised the obelisks to celebrate his jubilee (heb-sed) festival and honor the god Amun-Ra.

Construction materials: rose granite

About the reconstruction model of this phase

Image resource: Rendering of Obelisks of Pylon VII, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Obelisks of Pylon VII, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Obelisks of Pylon VII, by UCLA

The height and taper of the obelisk on the model were designed based on the axial reconstructions made by Traunecker (1982: fig. 1).

Photographs of all four sides of the Istanbul obelisk were used to recreate the top 20m of the obelisk on the model. A plain rose granite pattern was used to fill in the bottom section. They were placed according to the directional indications given by Dondelinger (1977: tafel 17).

Bibliography and Sources Used for Model Construction

Dondelinger, Edmund (1977), Der Obelisk : ein Steinmal ägyptischer Weltanschauung. Graz: Akadem. Druck- u. Verlagsanst.

Further reading

Habachi, Labib and Charles Van Siclen (1977), The obelisks of Egypt: skyscrapers of the past. Cairo : American University in Cairo Press.